Did I already mention the challenges I am facing while taking the course? Of course I did, several times! They just continue to surprise me more and more. Topics like demonstration, communication, situational awareness, monitoring, the importance of note-taking take a huge part of the course and I won’t lie, I start to realise how left out they might be if not considered by an instructor, or even by the course which they will be taking. Just to remind the readers, as I am taking the Practical instructor course, created by Lektor Consulting, I am focusing on learning how to become an instructor-leader for my future students and how to keep them in the centre. Previously I mentioned that a student's motivation is important throughout the whole course they are taking and with every bad decision the instructor makes or every complaint, or just a bad word that might have been said during the training could very much influence it. So even the moment an instructor is taking notes or which thoughts or actions they decide to share with the student during the debrief matters. This course is helping me to find differences in stating facts and leaving out the non-facts after the session and keeping students motivated at all times.
As an air traffic controller and then as a head of ACC, I kept my focus on stress and fatigue management and these were one of my favourite subjects (to say the least). And I am grateful to Lektor Consulting that they have put this subject into this course. Both stress and fatigue can have a huge impact on an individual and as the job of an ATCO is very demanding – the frontline workers, together with their managers, have a shared responsibility to handle it properly. “Stress and fatigue are in some ways present and affecting the learner, even though there might not be direct operational pressures involved yet. Seeing the world through the eyes of the learner allows us to see what causes stress for them and this way makes it easier to understand how we, as instructors, can help the student deal with stress and fatigue in ways that support learning.” In previous sections, I read and also fully agreed that an instructor is not there to put the student under pressure and stress them out. So I am eager to learn, how the learner experiences stress, what makes them fatigued and how I, their future instructor, may help to overcome, or even avoid this.
For students, the stressors are a bit different and that has to be taken into consideration. Their courses are a novelty to them, they have never experienced it before, that’s why they had no way of knowing what would occur. They are not able to expect everything that a skilled controller would, which causes surprises and stress. Furthermore, questioning the learners progress and capabilities may hurt them and their progress, “when a student is not sure of their own skills, they lose motivation and get stressed” and it’s a threat to their self-confidence. And one more which is mentioned in this section is sense of control: if a student's needs are not met, they are not heard, stress rises and motivation drops. So to be in a learner-centered classroom, an instructor-leader has to truly understand these factors.
I imagine some people I know shaking their heads right now, reading all of the above, but I honestly believe that adapting to the student’s needs might bring out the best out of them and having a considerate, supportive instructor next to them might create an awesome air traffic controller!
Today I spoke about stress and means of handling it, be it an air traffic controller or a pilot, or another frontline worker, with my friend, who was right in pointing out that many people do not recognise that they are impacted already and that they should find a coping mechanism most suitable for them. The Practical instructor course says the same. We might find ourselves being in the loop and, be honest to yourself – how many times have you noticed the signals, the recognisable signs and symptoms of stress and have you really tried to find a coping strategy that would be best for you? I can go first. There were situations where I had people telling me to slow down or change something and only when there were bodily symptoms which were telling me the same, I actually did something to help myself. This is a very important problem to tackle and I would like for everyone to take some time and try to answer these questions.